USA The opening of the “Risk of Education” Center

GS Center. Students in New York
The New York community has inaugurated a center for GS youth, a place where the Christian proposal can be announced. Archbishop Migliore and Bishop Catanello were present

by Louis J. Giovino

On Saturday, April 17, 2004, the Communion and Liberation community in New York opened the “Risk of Education” GS Center in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Christopher Bacich, Director of the Center, described it as a place “to re-propose the Christian event: to announce Christ to young people and give them a place where they can verify whether or not all the pieces of life and reality fit together.” The center occupies the first floor of a three-story brownstone in the heart of Bay Ridge. It consists of a small office, kitchen, and a meeting room.

A safe, trustworthy school
Under the theme “Gloria Dei Vivens Homo,” Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, and Bishop Ignatius Catanello, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, presided at the dedication, blessed the center, and spoke some words to the students, parents, and members of the Movement who were present. At the beginning of the ceremony, Chris read a message from Msgr Giussani: “Dear Chris and dear friends: I wish that the strength and life of Christ, who is Lord of the world, will bring those people who find themselves along your paths more faithfulness and happiness. I also wish that this center be for you all a certain and sure ‘school.’ I hope to be your teacher in this.” Archbishop Migliore, in his address, said, “Communion and Liberation has taken to heart the call of the Second Vatican Council about laity and mission in the world. Living the Gospel in the world is not limited to adults and, for this reason, I approve the initiative of CL to open this center. In so doing, you keep alive Father Giussani’s educational method in meeting the needs of young people. This center is for the future of the Church and society.” Bishop Catanello spoke of his experience as an educator: “For the most part, we talk about programs that we have to set up. But with all these programs, what I am understanding very strongly is that education, especially religious education, is not so much a program, it is a Person.”

Internet Newsletter
Maura Kate Costello, a senior at Bishop Kearney High School, spoke of her experience in GS. She met the Movement in eighth grade after Chris talked to her class. Impressed by his experience, she went on the GS vacation. Three years later, she is the Editor-in-Chief of The GS News, an Internet newsletter. She said of her experience: “My life is more lush. I have a desire in my heart that needs something that’s infinite. That desire is to want to be and know everything, to know the truth. To be Catholic is to take those desires seriously. Christ is the answer to that. I am a desert and there’s no ocean to fill it. Christ is that ocean.” The GS News started with the Winter 2002 issue, after the GS winter vacation, because the students wanted to stay connected with their friends. Moreover, it has been an opportunity to share their experience of Christ. The students write all the articles. Sean McCann, a senior at Xaverian High School, gave an example from an article he wrote on a Grammy-winning song. The article demonstrated how the students judge everything they encounter in the culture, from school subjects to popular songs to politics, based on their experience in GS.

An experience of happiness
Chris summed up the reason the New York community opened the center: “The reason has to do with education, and education is one of those fundamental needs and inescapable experiences of any person, like death or birth. Moreover, the nature of education in any society varies, according to that society’s view of the person and the reason for his existence.” What is the goal of our existence? “The goal of any human life is fulfillment, happiness.” How is this attained? “The desires that are at the core of our being must be fulfilled. That is, my desires have to find a response in reality: this is the heart of the experience of happiness. A young girl who ‘finds’ the boy of her dreams, finds–albeit for only a time–her happiness. The goal of the ‘Risk of Education’ Center is to help young people find and affirm a solid, lasting experience of happiness.”